Marshall University’s newest degree program in the College of Health Professions, the Master of Social Work, will provide advanced-level training for those who specialize in behavioral health and veterans services. The degree will be offered beginning with the fall semester of 2016.
Marshall’s Board of Governors met Oct. 28 and voted to approve the new program.
Interim President Gary White said the master’s degree in social work is a necessary addition that enhances Marshall’s reputation and ability to serve the region’s rural communities.
"This program will help position students to be at the forefront of change as our state faces many serious economic and rural health concerns," White said. "We need trained professionals to offer practical applications to help solve critical issues in our region and make a positive difference in our communities."
Social workers are uniquely trained to work with addiction, mental and emotional health, the elderly population, veterans and members of the military, and various other community components, according to MSW Program Director Dr. Peggy Proudfoot Harman.
"MSW graduates work directly with clients and serve as a liaison between health care professionals and patients," Harman said. "The program offers specialization in integrated behavioral health with opportunities to focus on veteran affairs and a variety of rural and underserved populations, which is especially exciting for our community given the large numbers of veterans who have returned from active duty, many returning from combat situations."
Dr. Michael W. Prewitt, dean of Marshall’s College of Health Professions, said the MSW program would be among the most affordable, ensuring that many graduates can start careers in West Virginia and the Appalachian region.
“Our college is proud to offer an MSW program with a cutting-edge curriculum that is designed to prepare social work professionals for the 21st century,” Prewitt said. “Our graduates will achieve competency in several areas, including integrated behavioral health, interdisciplinary communication, cultural competence, and military and veteran relations. They will also be able to focus on several underserved populations."
The MSW program consists of 60 hours for the two-year generalist component, designed for those coming to the field of social work from a related discipline, or 36 hours for those holding a bachelor’s degree in social work. Full-time students can expect to graduate within two years and advanced standing students will be able to complete the program in one calendar year. Part-time and online options will be available to those who cannot attend full-time classes. The program will begin accepting students in mid-January. For more information on the Department of Social Work, visit www.marshall.edu/social-work or www.marshall.edu/cohp.